Have we got a car for you! A bona-fide classic! The best in Gallic ingenuity and Space-Age thriftiness! A funky little ride that gets great mileage and packs in all the charm! Yes, this beige 1980 Renault Le Car is a classic, and, some may argue, was always a classic. Never say that even the French, foisting this upon us in the Eighties with the help of AMC (aka the House Un-American Motors Committee) aren’t prone to a bit of self-deprecation!
Hence, the labels, affixed to every exterior feature of the car—and we mean every single feature: Le Hubcap. Le Marker Light. Le Grill, Le Headlight, Le Vent, Le Vent (the other one), Le Cold Air Intake, Le Dead Bugs Splattered All Over The Front End From That One Time Le Car Hit 45 Miles Per Hour On Le Hill And Nearly Swerved Into Le Mailbox. No, wait, that’s not actually a label. If it was, it’d run the full length of Le Hood. Try not to think about masculine and feminine tenses in Romance languages, please, as Le Head may Le Explode.
Ahem. As of two hours ago, classic car site Bring A Trailer’s cheapest classic car, until they get hold of a Fuego, sold for just $1,615. For an hour, the auction’s price refused to budge at $880. In the last hour, the price nearly doubled. Jay Leno must have gotten in a bidding war with his Collision Course residuals. “You could flip this for $2500 on Renault forums, easy,” one commenter helpfully advised.
The intrepid winner, by the username usfd301, will receive no radio, no rust, more than its fair share of Le Dents, and a set of Le Weber carburetors to go with said Le Car. “The original hood emblem has been replaced by a drain guard,” they tersely note, and Le Drain gets a label too, which makes us wonder whether the factory actually equipped a $150 Le Decal And Handling Premium Cold Weather Platinum Package, or the previous owner simply went mad with a label gun they recklessly purchased from Staples.
You may certainly have to keep that trailer close by. Here’s what the august senior statesmen of the Bring A Trailer comment section have to say about such a machine:
It was a blast to drive, in the sense of a small-engine ‘momentum’ car. The inside rear wheel would routinely leave the ground in hard cornering, even at ‘street’ speeds. Gave quite the thwack when it returned to Earth after a turn.
Ours was a proper R5, bright yellow with round lights. We bought it new as our daily driver. One day my buddy Brent and I were out driving the back roads and ended up at the Stage Stop Inn, which had a great view of Rollins Pass which crosses the Continental Divide. While consuming adult beverages at the Inn, Brent and I decided that the little yellow 5 could best the pass. And so we set off. Due to its great suspension travel and tight turning radius we could find a path through obstacles that were stopping the big boys. It was so narrow one of us had to get out of the car and guide the driver. Far below you could see the hulks of trucks that didn’t make it. Finally we were across and the trail down slope was far easier. Our R5 never missed a beat and never let us down. I still miss it.
It would be a bit confusing if they came in a LE trim level.
My buddy David in high school had one of these with the rollback sunroof. It was pea green. David smoked a lot of weed so I had to (as opposed to got to) drive it several times. Weird little car.
Based on the comments it appears these are either charming, reliable little cars or complete hunks of shit.
I bought a new one in 1978, one of the things that sold me on the car was the brochure with a picture of the little instrument panel that was captioned “Le Flight Deck” and since that described my work place I just couldn’t resist. The Le Car proved to be an absolutely reliable airport car until one day when returning to the airport parking lot I found my Le Car surrounded by fire trucks and personnel. What happened was the Idiot parked next to me was dripping gas into his carburetor from a gallon gas can and his car backfired igniting the gas can. He dropped the can which then rolled under my Le Car and – well you can guess how that turned out.
The wife’s first car in college. After a few months she changed its name to Le Mon.
It’s no $71,000 BMW 2002—but this was one enthusiast’s chance to join the ranks of the classic car collectors while maintaining a je ne sais quoi sense of humor, to boot.